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1. Welcome!

On the evening of June 19 in Beijing Normal University, Shannon (violin), NiuNiu (piano), and I settled on stage before a piano, violin, and cello. With a final nervous but reassuring glance at one another, we lifted our arms and let the hours of careful practice guide our minds and our bodies through an hour’s worth of chamber and solo repertoire. This performance marked the beginning of our Theora Chamber Group’s 2018 China Summer Tour; a meticulously planned trip in which we performed and held a series of concerts and cultural exchanges in over 8 venues with humble hopes of sharing our passion for classical music overseas.

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Through this tour, we were able to share our experiences of balancing and synthesizing academic coursework with our musical endeavors. Although we realized in the process of stumbling with broken Chinese in front of an audience of 500 Chinese parents and students that our vocabulary needed much improvement, with practice we were able to get the message across; that although it inevitably requires sacrifice, classical music has played a significantly positive role in our development, and continues to provide invaluable parallels and inspiration for our work.


Some of the general themes we shared:

  1. Although difficult, practice requires passion.
  2. Technical work and musical expression go hand in hand.
  3. Classical music can catalyze creative expression in all aspects of life.


With unbelievably high academic expectations in Chinese elementary and middle schools, we learned that many young musicians must make a difficult decision as they grow older; whether or not to continue practicing music in the face of rising academic pressures. Various parents and students (as young as five years old) presented us with philosophical questions such as what led us to continue pursuing classical music, why we took breaks in between, why we did not choose to go to conservatories, and so on.

From the depth of the questions provided and the large size of the audience, we were able to recognize the importance of music to Chinese families. Since our life experiences are vastly different, and because schooling systems are very different in America versus China, we were unable to provide direct guidance. Instead, we shared anecdotes of own journeys with our respective instruments and the lessons they provided us.

Although our time in China was limited, the three weeks we spent touring provided us friendships, intense bonding, great food, and a stronger understanding of the classical music scene in China; and we want to share these moments and reflections with you, too. We hope this blog will provide a closer glimpse into the pit stops, the highlights, and the little moments of our trip. We’ve nested a plethora of photos, captions, videos, and recordings within this site (Although we can’t provide you the smells and the tastes through a blog post, we hope you can feel them through our pictures and words.) Thanks for stopping by, and happy browsing!


We will be releasing tracks and media links later! 🙂


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